Common Medications can Increase Vulnerability to UV Damage to the Eyes

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Since many medications can make your skin more sensitive to sunburn, they often come with a caution to use sunscreen. But, did you know that several common medications can increase your eye’s vulnerability to UV damage? According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), one-third of all adults in the U.S. are using medications that can increase photosensitivity. However, 49 percent are either unaware or do not believe that they are at risk of UV damage.


UV Damage to the Eyes
Source: Clare Bloomfield via


What Drugs Cause Side Effects on Eyes?

A number of different drugs in everyday use can affect the eyes. These include antibiotics containing tetracycline or floroquinolones and anti-inflammatory pain relievers, like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, among others.


Other Causes of Sensitivity

People with light-colored eyes (green, blue and hazel), cataracts and children are particularly susceptible to UV damage. However, only 47 percent of people check UV ratings of sunglasses and only 32 percent of parents make sure their children are wearing sunglasses with adequate UV protection, reports the AAO.


Eye Health and Protection Tips

There are a several ways to ensure you and your children are protected from the dangers of UV rays, such as the following:


  • Be extra careful whenever you’re taking medication that makes your eyes more sensitive to UV rays. Avoid going out in the sun for long periods of time, and make sure everyone has sunglasses on when you’re outdoors.
  • Only purchase sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. These are labeled as UV400 or as having 100 percent UV protection. Remember, the color of the lenses is not an indicator of the level of their protection.
  • Use sunglasses in every type of weather. Although 83 percent of people know that UV rays can easily pass through clouds, only 17 percent wear sunglasses when skies are overcast, says the AAO.
  • Remember that sunlight can reflect off surfaces such as the ocean, lakes, pools and sand.
  • Contact lenses with UV protection are not sufficient as they only cover a small part of the eye.


Always be aware of the potential effect a medication may have on your eyes or your children’s eyes, and make sure they’re wearing a pair of protective sunglasses whenever they head outdoors. Check out the Real Kids’ collection to find a pair of stylish shades for your kids today. Also, be sure to check out our current Facebook promotion!


As a reminder, if you ever have a question about your or your child’s medication and how it may cause sensitivity to sunlight, be sure to consult with your doctor.

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